Archive | Artists Book Cornucopia

Michelle Ray – recipient Gallery Director’s Exhibition Award

Michelle Ray.Three Ships.1

Each year, an artist is selected from the Artists’ Book Cornucopia exhibit for an exhibition award. Past recipient’s of this award include Casey Gardner (2012), Lise Melhorn-Boe (2011) and Sarah Vogel (2010).

I am pleased this year to announce that Michelle Ray is the recipient of the Artists’ Book Cornucopia IV Gallery Director’s Exhibition Award. Her work will be featured in a solo Reading Room exhibition April 18 – June 7, 2014.

Michelle’s work has been included in several group exhibitions at Abecedarian, and most of her available work is in inventory at the gallery. Last year Michelle was awarded an MFA from the Book Arts Program at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. The consistent quality of the work I see coming out of that program is worthy of comment. Graduates of this program invariably produce work that is beautifully crafted, rich in content and effectively balances concept and content through thoughtful presentation and structure choices.

Of the many graduates from that program represented by Abecedarian Gallery, Michelle Ray has been among my favorites since my first viewing of her book The Kashash and the Archivist.

ABC11 Michelle Ray, The Kashash & the Archivist (2)

Much as enjoyed showing and placing this book, I was a bit bereft when it sold out. I had the luxury of musing over it countless times while it was in inventory, and found it warmly rewarding to introduce this book, along with other Ray titles, to my clients. I have continued to ponder its impact on me and have concluded that this title, along with several others Michelle has produced during her brief time in the book arts, remind me of the writing style of Annie Dillard. Annie Dillard with images. High praise indeed.

Ray has just finished up a residency at the Small Craft Advisory Press (a remarkable book arts/printing residency program affiliated with in Florida State University in Tallahasee), where she produced God Created the Sea and Painted it Blue so We’d Feel Good on it.

Michelle Ray God Created the Sea 1

I look forward to exhibiting her work next year.


Artists’ Book Cornucopia IV

Joshua Orr.Deluge.2
This year’s Cornucopia exhibition once again brings a wide and rewarding variety of artists’ books to the gallery. I am gratified that so many artists working in this field continue to support Abecedarian by submitting work to our juried exhibitions. The Cornucopia exhibit has grown in status and scope, this year including works from throughout the United States as well as from Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. One of my favorite aspects of the Cornucopia exhibits is that emerging artists exhibit alongside seasoned professionals in the field.

Jessica Spring.Printer's Blocks.1
This year’s juror, Mary Murphy, Visual Resources Librarian at Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia, selected from nearly 200 entries the works that are on display. We had to ask that she limit her selection to fifty. This was quite a challenge as the quality of this year’s entries was consistently high.
Gail Smuda.Frances Sarah & Jack 2
We at the gallery are well pleased that most of the works in Cornucopia are displayed without protective cases, giving gallery visitors an opportunity to more closely scrutinize the riches that these books hold than is possible when books are exhibited in cases.
Ellen Knudson.Subject_Verb_Object.2
Unfortunately, most of Abecedarian’s patrons and fans rarely have a chance to visit the gallery. So we provide a lot of online options to view the works on display. I hope you’ll visit the following links, and check this blog often as each of the works in this exhibit will be featured in blog post at some point during the exhibition.

Online catalog

Purchase print or PDF catalog

Online image catalog


Artists Book Cornucopia III – Casey Gardner

Body of Inquiry by Casey Gardner

Casey Gardner - Body of Inquiry

This is a work that succeeds on every level: the text, both humorous and pithy, is engaging, the craft and material selection superb, the design and layout a balance of image, information and space.

The presentation is such that one is informed, enticed and amused before even getting to the ‘insides’ of the work – a corporeal codex, the inside story.

We read that the work was inspired by Torso Woman, a genuine anatomical model of serene evisceration. Mounted on the interior central panel, appropriately placed on a brush worked depiction of an armless, legless female, who does, however, have a head), wearing a stoic (or is it serene?) expression is an organically shaped book that includes overlapping shapes reminiscent of the human anatomy books of the fifties.

On the exterior of the central panel is a diagram depicting “How to approach something”, as well as Gardner’s dedication to many inspiring teachers, one in particular who made ‘learning an immense fantastical tale.’

This book is produced in an edition of 57 and sells for $1200.

Artist bio, images, descriptive details and ordering information here

Casey Gardner is the recipient of this years’ Gallery Director Award.

Her work will be featured in a Reading Room exhibit during Artists Book Cornucopia IV in 2013.


Artists Book Cornucopia III – Cynthia Nourse Thompson

Artists Book Cornucopia III – Cynthia Nourse Thompson


Cynthia Thompson - Grievous 2

Cynthia Thompson - Remorse 1

The physical and historical path the two girdle books, Grievous and Remorse, by Cynthia Thompson follow make them highlights of the exhibition. 

Each has pages of handmade paper made from historically significant rag fibers (Grievous from unblessed purificators and corporals and Remorse from an unblessed cappa). 


Bound in goat with nickel clasps made by Thompson, the associations and presentation are clean, pure and ordered. 


That they are so rich with content while visually so spare and elegant is a noteworthy accomplishment.


Both books are produced in editions of 5 and sell for $3200 each.


Artist bio, images, descriptive details and ordering information here  


Artists Book Cornucopia III – Servane Briand

Traces by Servane Briand


Servane Briand - Traces 2

A favorite attribute of this book is how lovely it smells. The book’s flexible yet sturdy covers are infused with beeswax, which means the book smells good and also feels wonderful in the hand. It is a palm-sized book, easily held while being read, and intended to act, in Briand’s words

as a daily companion and a reminder of the passing of time

I say read even though the book hasn’t any text. It does have narrative qualities. The pages progress through a series of color and tone shifts and each page has a variety of marks and symbols that resemble a partially faded pictographic alphabet. Each signature has a double gate fold, adding to the narrative aspect.


Servane Briand - Traces 1

This book is a one of a kind and sells for $300.

Artist bio, images, descriptive details and ordering information here


Artists Book Cornucopia III – Sun Young Kang

In Between Presence and Absence – Sun Young Kang


Sun Young Kang - In Between Presence and Absence, 2



This is the 2nd in a series of shaped page book objects created by Korean artist Sun Young Kang,  and is a continuation of her ongoing exploration of absence/emptiness and presence.


Using limited text


The presence only exists when the absence is recognized


and meticulous craft, Kang brings a meditative aspect to her work. Additional wonder comes when one recognizes that these works are crafted from quiet, repetitive work processes. 


Although the abstract Buddhist  philosophy of ‘emptiness’ is difficult to grasp, Kang succeeds in presenting the non-visual concept as a tangible object that has both presence and absence.


Viewing this work is quiet pleasure. 


This book is produced in an edition of 10 and sells for $600


Artist statement, images, descriptive details and ordering information here  


Artists Book Cornucopia III – Linda K. Johnson

Seasons of Winter by Linda Johnson 


Linda K Johnson - Seasons of Winter


This book makes use of an everyday, low-end material, papertoweling, to create a book perfectly suited for Randy L. Mayes’ musings on winter. Johnson handset the type and printed on slightly translucent papertowels. That each is carefully  torn at the bottom edge creates a series of soft edge layers very evocative of falling snow. 


For Johnson the 

torn fore edges . . . connote the sense of time passing and the observationsof winter changing as the season progresses and ultimately gives way to spring. 


The book is stab bound at the top, the cover a cool tone Amate paper.


This books is produced in an edition of 25 and sells for $125.


Artist statement, images, descriptive details and ordering information here


ABC – Artists Book Cornucopia

On display in the main gallery April 1 – May 8, 2010, Artists’ Book Cornucopia is a juried exhibition including a broad range of artists’ bookworks. Open...Heart SurgeryIt was juried by
Michael Levine-Clark Special Collections Librarian
Penrose Library, University of Denver. Printed exhibition catalogs are available here:

Denver, Colorado

Juror’s Statement:The Phoenix

I have chosen 45 books by 37 artists. These books represent a range of styles, prices, sizes, and techniques – hopefully together they create a true cornucopia of artists’ books. Books range in style from the traditional codex to sculptural objects. They range in price from $45 to $1,800. They include one-of-a-kind works and editions, simple and complex structures, and books printed letterpress and books sewn together: something for everyone.

In choosing as broad a range as possible, I frequently opted to include just one book from a particular artist; in general, if an artist entered two books from the same series or with a similar feel, I chose just one. I did choose multiple books from some artists, but in these cases, I felt that the books were dissimilar enough to warrant inclusion.
Promise Book
Judging a show based purely on photographs and brief written descriptions is difficult. Some artists did a great job conveying a sense of the book – its subject, its appearance open and closed, and most importantly, the experience of reading. Others included just a single image, or multiple similar images, making it difficult to judge the book as a whole. It’s possible that other images oversold the books they represented. On some level, what I judged was the ability of an artist to show off a three-dimensional interactive object via a few images and words.

Gallery Director’s Statement:

The question I am asked more than any other is “What is an artists’ book?” That question is most easily answered by providing examples drawn from the wide array of works this term describes. Exhibitions such as Artists Book Cornucopia give me an opportunity to exhibit a selection that is inclusive of most of the sub-genres of artists’ books.

This exhibition is one of special signifance for the gallery as the books are on display in the main gallery of Abecedarian, rather than being restricted to the gallery’s Reading Room. The exhibit includes works by artists already familiar to me as well as works by artists’ previously unknown to me. A juried exhibit has the potential to be only as good as the best of the artworks submitted (and concepts such as good and best are, obviously, very subjective). I am honored that so many artists submitted such high quality entries, contributing to what is a wonderful array and, as Michael says above, a true cornucopia of artists’ books.

Accordion Book 1
Alicia Bailey
– Gallery Director and Exhibition Curator

Abecedarian Gallery,
Denver, Colorado

Included in Artists’ Book Cornucopia are:

Alice Walsh, Andrew Huot, C.J. Shane, Carolyn Sheehan, Catherine Nash, CB Sherlock, Cristina de Almeida, Diane Fine/Mario Laplante, Diane Gillespie, Ellen Knudson Emiy Tipps, Georgia A. Greeley/Sue Bjerke, Hyeyoung Shin, Jana Sim, Jenny Craig, Jim Lee, Joan Iversen Goswell, Judith Cassel-Mamet, Judy Gardner, Karen Hanmer, Leslie Waygren, Lin Fife, Linda Samson-Talleur, Maryann J. Riker, Mary-Ellen Campbell, Maureen Piggins, Melissa Jay Craig, Merike van Zanten, Michael Peven, Paula Curran, Peggy Johnston, Rochelle Newman/Maryanne Scatamachhia, Sammy Lee, Sarah Bryant, Sarah Vogel, Thomas Parker Williams & Tom Virgin.

Above the Eye